Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Ugly Side of Religious Fundamentalism: The SBC Will Die If Not Delivered from It

Last year the Washington Post took me to task for praying during the opening of the Oklahoma Senate that  "only believers in God be leaders in our democracy."  The Post, a paper not known for its conservative moorings, considered me a Christian Fundamentalist. The religion editor falsely opined that I had "disdain" for "atheists and secular humanists." It's not the atheist or humanist that I "disdain," its their principles. It seems that the far left has as difficult of a time distinguishing between principled disagreement with another's beliefs and personal disdain for another's person. True Christians love people, even their enemies, but are fearless when it comes to pointing out unrighteousness. Ironically, the Washington Post editorialized yesterday on the Ergun Caner situation, and it is likely that the editors may have missed the most astonishing aspect of the story. It's not Muslims, atheists, or secular humanists who called Liberty to bring accountablity to the Ergun Caner situation, but conservative, evangelical Christians. The Word of God states "It is time for judgment to begin with the family of God" (I Peter 4:17). For too long, we conservative evangelicals have refused to police ourselves. A new day is dawning, and Christians have taken their rightful place in holding one another accountable to the gospel we preach. What is the gospel? We are all sinners, and Christ grants His grace to those who confess and repent of their sins and trust in Him. "You shall call His name Jesus," the angel said, "for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Christ doesn't save us and leave us in our sins; Christ doesn't save us and call us to cover our sins; Christ delivers us from our sins.

Yesterday, the Southern Baptist Fundamentalists at SBC Today went after any Southern Baptist who has  publicly stated their refusal to believe Ergun Caner has been "exonerated" by Liberty's decision to remove him as President of Liberty Seminary through the Committee's public acknowledgement that Caner gave "factual statements that are self-contradictory." The tactics taken by SBC Today show the  dark and ugly side of religious Fundamentalism. They (the tactics) form an antithesis to the commands of Christ, and unless called out and stopped cold in their tracks, will lead to the total and final destruction of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Tactic Number One: If a Fundamentalist is losing influence, he will lie about his opponent.

James White, a professor at Golden Gate Seminary, is a recipient of such tactics. The leaders of SBC Today publicly declared:  "Dr. James White also accused Dr. Caner of not being a former Muslim." SBC Today gave no citation, no evidence, not one shred of proof for their claim. In fact, the statement about James White was a bald faced lie.  James White has never claimed Ergun. Caner was not a Muslim.  He has only questioned the contradictions in Caner's testimony. James White himself came into the comment stream and asked for evidence that he ever said or wrote such a thing or retract the statement. 
No evidence was provided by SBC Today, but no retraction was made either. And, by the way, a very sagacious comment by James White that irrefutably revealed the illogic of SBC Today's accusation was deleted by SBC Today.

Tactic Number Two: If a Fundamentalist can't answer a question from his opponent, he accuses his opponent of malevolent motives, dishonorable intent, or godless character.
For example, Les Puryear claims people questioning Caner have "hatred" in their hearts the way people had hatred in their hearts when they crucified Jesus (see comment #1). Robin Foster calls those who question Dr. Caner's contradictory statements "abusers" (see comment #28). Tim Rogers calls Christians who question Dr. Caner's testimony "godless" and "slanderous" among other things (see comment #35). Craig Deliassio calls Christians who question Caner's embellishments "pathetic heretics" and says he will physically hurt them if he ever meets them (see comment #38).
Tactic Number Three: If a Fundamentalist is personally hurt or embarrassed by the words or actions of another, he will invoke God's judgment on the one who brought him hurt.

One of the champion cheerleaders for SBC Today wrote the following comment about those who questioned Ergun Caner's factual statements that are contradictory (I quote verbatim):

"I know God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but right now if one of these unsaved charlatans died I’d have to force myself to remember what I believe about hell and make myself be sorrowful for the fate of their souls."
Tactic Number Four: If a Fundamentalist is losing a debate because of a lack of logical defense, he will invoke the name of a Fundamentalist superstar to end discussion.

To defend his use of the word "exoneration" in describing Liberty's official conclusion regarding Caner, Tim Roger's invokes the name of Norman Geisler (see comment #22). Roger's wrote:

"If you have problems with me using “exonerated” as my choice of words then you have problems with one of the greatest and most respected apologist in the Evangelical world–Dr. Norman Geisler–he has used the same word."
Other names invoked include Jerry Falwell, Jr., Paige Patterson, Jerry Vines, etc....

Tactic Number Five: If a Fundamentalist feels like he's losing control of an institution or a hold on the minds of people, it's always the kingdom of Christ that is being damaged.

SBC Today cheerleaders stated in the comment section about those questioning Caner: "These people want to destroy Liberty University!" It can never simply be Christians wanting to hold other Christians accountable for their actions. There must always be some other malevolent intent.

I would encourage every Southern Baptist to read SBC Today's post and comments entitled "To Clear From Accusation or Blame."  It is the best, most visible example of why God must intervene in the Southern Baptist Convention and save it from the philosophy and tactics of Fundamentalism, or the SBC will die a slow, tortuous and angry death.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

Tim: I have a problem with your use of the word exoneration. I also have a problem with Norman Geisler's use of it. Just had to say that for the record.

Sir Brass said...

Right on, sir! Right on :)

Ex N1hilo said...

Mr. Burleson,

This post makes valid and important points concerning the unchristian behavior of many Fundamentalists.

However, it seems to me that you ought to make it explicit that these types of behavior are not characteristic of all Fundamentalists.

Otherwise, readers might get the impression that you intended to generalize. I do not believe this to be the case.

BTW, I do not consider myself to be a Fundamentalist. But I have known "Fundies" who are were men of God and men of integrity.


Sir Brass said...

I think he was very specific as to WHICH fundamentalists he was referring to, ExN1hilo. Seems he was mainly calling out Peter Lumpkins and his cohorts at SBCToday.

This blog post is going up over facebook :). Excellent points made.

Paul Burleson said...


This..."And I think you to be wise to publish the Burleson’s true motivation for what they have done."..was stated in that same comment section.

It's interesting that my true motive.. [I'm assuming the plural 'Burlesons' is referencing you and me NOT you and another Burleson.].. for what I've done..[I'm assuming he's referenceing the two posts I've written over the past four months about the Caner situation.].. was stated by the author of the blog post and is, in fact, your/my TRUE motive as he certainly knows. [As opposed to only God knowing motives that are true.]

It's funny to me that even the "hidden purposes of the heart" are known by some when the scriptures state that we're to judge nothing until that day comes when He who really does know the heart returns and brings to light those very purposes. [1 Corinthians 4:5]

It must be nice to have perfect understanding as to WHY people do what they do. I know one thing, it's above my paygrade.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the arrogance of certain fundamentalists

Remember this blog post written back on April 1?

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your dissection of Fundamentalists but I would also enjoy your take on moderates and liberals. After all, they too have their faults or the CR never would have taken place.

Unknown said...

The fundamentalism in the Baptist body consists mainly of ignorant white male Baptists--those with power to change the world syndrome. NOT the power of the Gospel--it is the PERSON(S) and INSTITUTIONAL power. They deceive themselves into thinking that having a mega church of 20 thousands or so can change the world whether the millions want change or not. Such arrogance and ignorance are common--power to force people against their will.

EC named his book Christian Jihad! What an arrogant mental attitude!

The root of the fundamentalists' arrogance is holding and wielding power of money and media.

The method they use is first of all shouting (not arguing) at their perceived enemy--whoever he/she is by calling them extremists, etc.

Secondly, they try to legalize what they want by buying politicians to legalize morality (e.g., Moral Majority).

These tactics are similar to radical Moslems trying to establish Sharia law wherever they go. Look how the Moslems in Troy, Michigan have been trying to establish Sharia Law there.

These guys, Jerry Falwell Sr., etc. uphold the so called Theonomy or Christian Reconstruction Movement (Rushdoony, etc)--wanting to rule the nation by the Mosaic Law.

This is the mindset of these guys: "I am right! You are wrong! You MUST follow me whether you believe such or not! Or I will MAKE you to comply whether you will or not!"

The arrogance of Jerry Falwell Sr. with Moral Majority was arrogance based on power of number and money.

He deceived himself into believing that he can change the world by political manipulation of legalizing morality (e.g., making Biblical law as the law of the land), whether people vote for it or not.

The same stupidity and arrogance were shown by Jerry Falwell Jr., when having Glen Beck at LU recently by saying, Let us NOT talking theology, let us SAVE the country first! Such an ignorant and arrogant mental attitude!

Fundamentalists are ignorant and arrogant--blinded by money, power and fame. said...


When liberalism becomes a problem in the SBC, you can rest assured there will be a dissection of liberal principles and the damage they do.

But to find a liberal in the SBC today would be like trying to find Santa Clause stuck in your chimney Christmas Eve.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wade - this is very strange. I can't believe this is happening in the SBC.

In reality, the SBC Today Bunch are really nobodies in the Southern Baptist Convention. They are small church pastors and as far as I know hold know positions of any significance. But they do have a popular blog site, but other than that does anybody really listen to these guys or view them as leaders or representing anybody in the SBC?

What needs to happen at this point is somebody like a Vines, a Hunt, or a Brunson or a Patterson needs to step up and affirm that Caner has done wrong, and that his LU pres. removal was CORRECT. This will put these guys at SBC Today in their place. But the silence of the heavies in the SBC over the Caner debacle empowers these guys to take the most asinine positions! They are useful idiots I think to the me, you're not going to find Brunson or Hunt or Patterson saying Caner was exonerated, because it just is not even logically defensible. So the heavies sit back while their useful idiots defend Caner and attack those who call for accountability.

A word about Craig D. Here is what he says over at SBC Today:

"There has not been love shown whatsoever in this attack on Caner…and now his wife and children. His WIFE and CHILDREN! (FBC Jax Watchdog) Where I grew up, the local men on the block would have paid an unkind visit to someone who would do that."

I don't know where I or anyone at my blog has "attacked" his wife and children. But he says that people would pay an "unkind visit" to someone (me I suppose) who would do that.

Then, over at my blog, Craig posts a one sentence post on my Caner thread:

"I feel a trip to Jax is on the horizon... "

Maybe I'll get a visit at my house from Craig! I'm sure he wants to come and pray with me!

Ron Mackey said...

Here's something to think about. The conclusions that those are making at SBCToday about your and others motivations, in my opinion, are revealing their own deep seeded motivations. When they accuse you of certain behaviors it is because being in the same circumstance that would be how they would react.
I'm just saying said...


I have to disagree with you.

You write:

Fundamentalists are ignorant and arrogant--blinded by money, power and fame.

If you were to write:

I don't know the motive of Fundamentalists, but I wonder if some Fundamentalists who have obtained leadership are blinded by money, power and fame. Though I may not know their motive, I can sure see Fundamentalists doing some extraordinary illogical and ungodly things in terms of their leadership.

In other words, be specific about what they do, but be guarded about knowing why they do what they do.

Make sense?

Anonymous said...


Most of us agree with what you said. Sorry, but the Fundamentalists can not hear you.

Sometimes, Fundamentalists start thinking for themselves, which is a good thing, most of the time, it is more comforting to let others think for you which is where those entrapped in Fundamentalism find themselves.

One of the main reasons (at least in my opinion) is that the Word of God is not taught in Fundy churches. I mean think about it, how many Fundy pastors/preachers actually teach the Word of God IE actually EXPOSITE THE SCRIPTURES? Again, my opinion, not many.

Many fundy pastors/teachers would die about me saying that, but think about it, all most all of them do is getup and rant and rave about moral behavior (which is not the Gospel).

I have often said that the greatest enemy of a Fundamentalist is The Bible.

Romans 5:1 said...


I think your analysis is spot on--all except for the term "idiots."

It reminds me of a church member correcting me for saying "mentally retarded." They told me that was no longer politically correct. I should say "mentally challenged."

Might I suggest we stay away from the term "idiot" and use the term
"our logically challenged" friends over at SBC Today?

Just asking. :) said...


I agree.

100% said...

The Other Burleson (i.e. "Dad")

Good word.

By the way, loved hearing of the powerful word on the resurrection of Christ you gave and what that means physically, judicially and personally for us.

I'm thankful to have a heritage where it is the power of the gospel that invigorates! Our folks are looking forward to you preaching in August.

Anonymous said...


In regards to my earlier post, you are correct in your reply to Richard. I did mean to say "much of what you said" in regards to Richard's post.

Sadly, the SBC Today crowd is embarrassing themselves without even knowing it.

Romans 6:23

Dr. Moore said...

My word, I just read The Steely Backbone of the School of Jerry Falwell because of a link provided here. My jaw hit the floor when reading the hubristic words Bart Barber, former professor and current trustee of Southwestern Theological Seminary. Somebody needs to call him into account for what he wrote two months ago. said...


I just read your comment above (#2) in the stream. Sorry for not responding earlier.

I agree that there can be Fundamentalists who do not use such tactics.

I just haven't met many in the SBC lately.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wade - I chose "useful idiot" purposely, a term as defined in Wikipedia:

"The term is used as a pejorative to describe a naive person manipulated to produce propaganda for a malign cause."

:) said...


Good definition.


BeamStalk said...

I have never commented before here, but have lurked for awhile.

I find this all amusing, as an outsider to the SBC. These same tactics have been used on outsiders for awhile. I rarely saw it ever called on for the dishonesty inherent in them. Now they are attacking their own with this rhetoric. I find it enlightening that it is only now that these tactics are being called for what they are. It is always easier to stop a pebble than the rock slide it can become.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate you and others coming forward, Wade. I just think it is possibly too late. Time will tell.

Stan said...

I shall comment and refrain from saying what I feel about Peter Lumpkin's and Tim Rogers's respective characters. They do enough damage to themselves.

I would like to point out though that BOTH Rogers and Lumpkins are now saying ERGUN CANER VOLUNTARILY STEPPED DOWN AS PRESIDENT OF LIBERTY.

Lumpkin's today. "Perhaps the media-stress placed upon him these last few months taxed both Dr. Caner and his family so severely that he sensed he must step down regardless of the outcome of the investigation."

Roger's yesterday. "How do you know he was “removed” as Dean? How do you know that he didn’t request to step down from that position?Rogers yesterday."

These two men are in danger of delusional dementia. It is truly scary to think that they are actually Southern Baptist who try to represent other Southern Baptists.

Unknown said...


I should have elaborated more of the ignorant part.

Ignorant (not intellectually) but ignorant of the power to change people--it is only GOSPEL power and NONE other this side of the resurrection of the body.

Ignorant in terms of long history of Christianity--so many have taken up the mission to change the world and failed.

In our era, since 1948, the establishment of the World Council of Churches, the liberals have been trying to change the world by MORAL & POLITICAL MEANS and NOTHING happenned.

They even funded the Sandinisthas and other freedom fighters' organizations--similar to Geisler and Falwell's bullying the abortion clinics and doctors.

This ignorance resulting in bullying type of preaching by putdowns and braggamonies are what I called ignorant based on power.

Anonymous has touched on it: the main problem is that fundamentalists churches do not teach the Bible exegetically and expositorily.

Jack Hyles taught Jerry Falwell to preach in this manner: Take a verse and holler. Take another verse and holler. And holler and holler for 45 minutes. He said: After 1 hour I still holler. Hollering is an expression of ignorance and arrogance.

If you google Jerry Falwell Sr., and Jerry Junior's sermons at TRBC you will see NO exposition based on exegetical study of Scripture. It is story after story and testimony after testimony spraying with a Bible text here and there as proff-texts. It is merely a stringing of texts quoted out of context to prove a preconceived topic.

Do you see why this fundamentalist culture loves Ergun Caner? To inflate their egos with made up stories of himself. Then, it was a fight with liberals. Now it is a war with Islam and extreme Calvinists.

EC and Geisler are intimidated by the Calvinists.

Back to their preaching. It is preaching in the tradirion of D.L. Moody: Just Bible and a Concordance. This loathing of serious Biblical scholarship is deep in the psyche of TRBC. That is why EC made-up stories, braggamonies, and putdowns are loved in LU and fundamentalist Baptist circles.

Ignorant of the power of the Holy Spirit in HIS SOLE means to change people, namely, Bible doctrine (Jn16:8-11; Gal3:1-3). said...



Anonymous said...

Why wasn't this comment deleted, Wade?

These two men are in danger of delusional dementia. It is truly scary to think that they are actually Southern Baptist who try to represent other Southern Baptists.

Wed Jun 30, 10:15:00 AM 2010

Mike DeLong said...

Wade --

I've been trying to puzzle this out, and I appreciate your separating out the five tactics above. However, I don't think fundamentalism per se is the problem here. I think the problem is authoritarianism.

Fundamentalism as a social movement has authoritarian characteristics; namely, that because the pastor handles the Scripture he speaks with the voice of God, and what he says is true because of his position, rather than his deriving his authority from the truth of what he says. But that's not really what's at the root here.

As best I can tell from the interactions I've had with the handful of Caner defenders who consider the facts of the case to be "James White and a bunch of Muslims are attacking Ergun Caner" rather than the list of discrepancies in Caner's public comments, the underlying principles that define the dialogue have more to do with authority, loyalty, and (for lack of a better term) brand identification than honesty and humility, or whatever.

I think authoritarianism explains all five tactics; the first four are appeals authority or expectations of loyalty to an authority figure, while the fifth is just authoritarian by implication: it's the proper social order that's being threatened, etc.

Besides, Liberty isn't fundamentalist any more anyway; it became evangelical when Jerry got involved first in politics and then with charismatics. As far as I can tell it hasn't moved back toward fundamentalism in the five years since Jerry died.

I really can't speak for the rest of the SBC since I don't pay that much attention to it, but from what I've read recently about the recent gathering it has a bigger authority problem than it does a doctrinal problem. said...

Mike DeLong,

Sir, I would agree.

Anonymous said...

BTW, the reason that Fundy's can not exposite scripture is that they are not taught how to preach, and to do so would destroy many of their straw-men.

It is sad, that they can not sit down and tell their congregation what a text means in its context, yet call themselves Minister's of the Gospel!

May God have mercy on all of our souls.

Maybe Wade should address that issue as well, now that we are on that subject (sorry for the rants)

pastorbillm said...

Folks, I changed the picture on the post because it was too ugly to keep looking at.


mirele said...

Wade Burleson: What part of "no religious test for public office" do you not understand?

I think the Washington Post was correct to castigate you for your "believers only" prayer in the Oklahoma Senate. [Oh, and by the way, the Washington Post is not very liberal. It's very establishment. *shakes head*]

If you live in these United States, as I do, you're living under our Constitution. This document plainly says in Article VI, Section 3:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

You're essentially asking for a religious test for public office, which is fundamentally unconstitutional and simply wrongheaded.

As a Muslim convert, I'd rather have an atheist as a public leader rather than a theocratic Christian. The former are not bound by some dogma that sees non-Christians as fodder for conversion, and, given the hostility towards atheists in this country, are likely to have more respect for religious liberty for all.

I'm also understanding more and more why my father, an Oklahoma farmboy, up and left the state in 1953, and has never lived there again.

Steven Stark said...

"It's not the atheist or humanist that I "disdain," its their principles"

I am going to have to agree with the Washington Post on this one. Praying in a meeting of our elected representatives that only believers in God should win elections is like praying that only Republicans (or Democrats) should win elections.

It's fine to pray that representatives will strive for the welfare for our country (everyone agrees with that in theory, because that is the job), but to pray that they all agree with a certain religious or political point of view, however true that is, doesn't seem appropriate in a government meeting.

JR said...

I thought this was a wise statement from Tom Chantry:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wade - it finally hit me.

Does this latest twist in the Caner debacle - smart, learned men of the SBC refusing to admit Caner lied while claiming his "exoneration" - doesn't it show us why non-Christians have a fear and distrust of Christians who interject themselves into politics and positions of public trust and power?

Can you imagine a guy like Geisler or Lumpkins or Rogers having real POWER? They can't even rightly judge between right and wrong, they can't be impartial enough to see who is lying, who is telling the truth in this matter. They put their own religious views and biases and allegiences to men in authority above truth and justice and what is right.

For example, I used to wonder - why would people care that Mike Huckabee used to be an SBC pastor? Why would that concern people? Don't get me wrong, I like Huckabee. But I now understand why just him being an SBC pastor

BECAUSE OF THIS!!! Does this not give people a glimpse into the mind of many southern baptist "men of God"?

They accuse a Muslim man of lying who was seeking to tell the truth about Caner (Craig D now claims the MoKhan videos were "doctored"), but they defend the liar and say he didn't lie, while then damning to hell anyone who tried to point out that the guy was lying and accuing people of being heretics and haters who called for accountability. all the while, the big heavies in the convention remain silent.

As I blogged in May: this is an evangelical crisis. More harm is being done to the name of Jesus Christ and his followers by these zealots defending Caner than any ole blog out there.

Unknown said...


Here is my 2 cents on LU & exegetically based expository preaching (let us wait for Wade's post in the near future).

First, LU is still fundamentalism in spirit (the old guards are still there--Towns, etc).

Fundy revolves around certain pulpit style and content. And EC was appointed exactly because of his fundy's style and content (not his character or spirituality and regardless of his lying--they still cling to the hubris of fundy's preaching style).

Second, they have scholars teaching at LU seminary and they can teach exegetically based expository preaching. But it is NOT what they practice; and it is NOT what their people are trained to endure listening and pursuing. They prefer story after story and putdowns (Wade's words). So the fundy spirit still triumphs

Third, the Lord blesses Jerry Jr. sermons because the Spirit blesses the Scriptures, HE inspired--even if quoted out of contexts. Like Jerry Sr., he just strings texts out of contexts to support his chosen topics.

Why Jerry Sr. embraces charismatics? They have the same approach to this type of preaching.

Why do they cling to Romans Road method of evangelism? It is the same as this fundy's approach to preaching: quote and holler; quote and holler; quote and holler!

With utter disregard of the human beings in front of them, they simply quote and holler Romans 3:10,23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9-10 and that is fundy's evangelism.

The fundies' egos, then, are so satified by means of putdown hollering.

In this respect, LU is still a fundy institution.

Mike DeLong said...

Tom --

I thought maybe the "born in Istanbul" could have been doctored, too, but then the link to the original surfaced in a comment on this blog.

Here's the link:

Paul said...

BREAKING NEWS: Mike Warnke exhonorated for "misstatements" about his past.

Gene S said...


You are zeroing in on a major problem with the public perception of the SBC as a bunch of dogs chasing their tails! Their cause of cleansing has become so obsessive that they are climbing a tree which is about to throw them to the ground!

I do tree surgery for a living now--and do my preaching as a ministry. I have taught several men to climb since I can no longer do it myself. The first rule is: Trust your equipment.

The factors you cite for "winning the argument" is poor equipment along with poor logic!!! It seems to be the stuff most adopted today in politics: When you don't have enough ideas to help your constituents--just focus on saying anything to make you opponent seem to be Un-American / un-Southern / un-Christian / etc.!

It is a poor approach to winning, but people seem to respond more to liablous than logical discussion. It is happening in spades to our current President! He was a winner in his election and we love to try and turn him into a "foreign-born Moslem" now. Give me a break!!!!!

My simple image of a dog chasing his tail pales in comparison to my Grandaddy's favorite saying: The higher the monkey climbs the tree---the more you see his tail!"

Our conservative/fundamentalist leaders of the SBC climbed pretty high with a 15 year silence rule for their report to "make things right."

Now they are climbing even higher with all this stuff over "mis-statements" of Caner!!!

Do they not realize that the public eye is pretty sharp these days? In fact, they are so high now it takes a pair of binoculars to see they are not using a safety belt and their spurs are slipping out of their tree!---in my professional opinion.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Mike - Khan probably downloaded it, doctored it, then you know how tech-savy those Muslims are...he hacked into the computer system at that church and replaced the doctored video.

:), as I wear my tin foil hat.

Mike DeLong said...

Richard --

I'm not sure Towns is a fundamentalist; he came to TRBC as a church growth expert. The church growth movement is more of an evangelical phenomenon than a fundamentalist phenomenon.

Jerry Sr attempted (and mostly failed) to pull fundamentalists with him into the Moral Majority, but fundamentalists are separatist and don't do ecumenical stuff even for very good causes.

There are still some fundamentalists at Liberty, of course; Caner's predecessor at the seminary, for example, left for a position at Tennessee Temple. But I think I would argue that as Jerry got deeper into politics he got further from his fundamentalist roots, and his primary audience shifted from being fundamentalists to evangelicals in the late Eighties or early Nineties. The school joined the SBC (and got four SBC board members) in 1999, so I'd argue Jerry's migration happened long before then.

Jon Estes said...

"to pray that they all agree with a certain religious or political point of view, however true that is, doesn't seem appropriate in a government meeting."

I think Paul would disagree with this idea.

How come a Christian needs to compromise truth because it is a government meeting? Is their standard the one we must bow to?

Beat me, stone me, throw me in prison before I dare compromise His Word, the Truth.

I typed the preceding while I was hollering and beating the pulpit.

Michael said...

Oh, and don't forget, that if the person is the pastor of a church dealing with someone in his congregation who is trying to bring accountability where the pastor has sinned, he can invoke the strategy of getting the deacons to kick him out of the church for the general and vague reason of sowing discord or causing division.

Michelle said...

Thank you, FBC Jax Watchdog!

You hit the nail squarely on the head regarding why I don't consider Christianity to be a qualification for holding public office. If you are otherwise qualified, to the best of my knowledge, (e.g., honest, willing to listen to those with whom you do not agree and even converse with them/us, hard-working, wanting to work for the people more than desiring the power of the office), and happen to be a Christian as well, great! If you aren't, but I still have he opportunity to vote for you? Then wouldn't that be a vote of fresh air for me--getting to vote for someone instead of merely against someone else?

Of course, being female, I have additional concerns about Christians running the country. Note that I make this observation from within the church, sadly.

John Wylie said...

I want to address two subjects if I may:

First, Pastor Wade is first and foremost a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His prayer was certainly appropriate because He was praying to God not to those congressmen. He has every right to desire and pray to God that our representatives be believers. I don't always agree with what he says on his blogs or comments here, but I respect him as a kind, principled christian gentleman.

Secondly, about some of the comments about fundamentalism. There is obviously a disagreement in the definition of the term. To me and several others a fundamentalist is simply someone who believes in and upholds the fundamentals of the Christian faith (ie. the deity of Christ, His bodily resurrection etc.). While there is a tendency among fundamentalists toward being controlling and mean spirited and personally confrontational, that does not represent all fundamentalists. The two most humble (at least in behavior, I can't judge their hearts) pastors I've ever encountered were not liberals, or moderates, or even conservatives, they were squarely in the fundamentalist camp. Fundamentalism means different things to different people.

BeamStalk said...

"I think Paul would disagree with this idea.

How come a Christian needs to compromise truth because it is a government meeting? Is their standard the one we must bow to?"

It is not compromising the truth, it is speaking on behalf of the government to all citizens. Otherwise you are excluding and showing that the Government thinks it is okay that some people are not allowed to be full citizens.

John Wylie said...

As for the comments about Bible exposition and "hollering". It is true that we as Baptists have gotten away from Bible exposition and tended toward a more topical approach. This is true not only in fundamental circles. And it has engendered in our various congregations a very shallow, at best, understanding of the scriptures. But I will remind you that the men of God who have attempted to turn the tide back to Bible exposition and expository preaching in the SBC have largely been fundamentalists. Dr. W.A. Criswell, a self styled fundamentalist, preached through the entire Bible at FBC Dallas in a little over 17 years. He encouraged others to do so as well. Rogers, Vines, Reavis, Allen, Street, Mohler all fundamentalists and all Bible Expositors.

Also, the truth is that Jerry Falwell Sr. seldom raised his voice in the pulpit. But if raising one's voice is an expression of passion and not a cover up for ignorance or putting on a dog and pony show than I believe it is acceptable.

Tim Marsh said...

Fisher Humphreys, formerly of Beeson Divinity School, wrote two books "The Way We Were" and "Fundamentalism" dealing with the emergence of fundamentalism in Baptist life since 1979. The question he poses at the end of the first book, is this:

"Are we better off than before 1979?" The convention purged itself of "moderates" and gained "fundamentalists." So my question is, "Is the SBC better off today than before 1979?"

Steve said...

Wow! What a mind-warping trip to go through posts and comments at that site. Those dudes need some help.

Unknown said...

Tim Marsh,

The purging process is still going on in seminaries such as SWBTS, etc. It is ongoing as long as the guys who reformed SBC are still there--the popes. said...

John Wylie,

"There is obviously a disagreement in the definition of the term. To me and several others a fundamentalist is simply someone who believes in and upholds the fundamentals of the Christian faith."

I agree. I am a fundamentalist by your definition.

I wish there were a different word to use to describe what is at play

Maybe a more appropriate word would be "Authoritarianism."

I'm open.

Anonymous said...

Wade -

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. DeLong and call your attention back to a book I recommended a couple of years ago - "Conservatives Without Conscience" written in 2007 by John Dean.

Mike DeLong said...

blogitch et al --

I would recommend the Chris Hedges book American Fascists with some reservations. Hedges seems to be imposing an interpretation on what he describes that I think is off the mark, but on occasion he has some brilliant insights.

I think "authoritarian" is a better term than "fascist" because the latter has lost so much of its meaning through overuse and misuse, and because it had a proper-noun historical meaning that current use deviates from substantially.

I would recommend in particular the chapter in Hedges' book where he attends an evangelism seminar, where the practice of tailoring one's on testimony to make it more convincing is recommended. I can't remember whose church he visited. D. James Kennedy, maybe?

foxofbama said...


Especially to you and all your audience I here I hope Bruce Prescott or our friend David Flick will help you turn up a copy of the June Issue of Baptists Today and the Cover Story on Jimmy Allen.
I thought I knew most of the George Truett stories, but learned reading today, had it not been for illness, Truett most likely would've done Allen's ordination in the early 1940's.
Allen calls fundamentalism and the character of the CR "insidious" enumerating several occasions he tried to work for understanding and accomodation with conscience against the likes you are now resisting who consider 51% of any vote they construct a mandate.
At this last date I wish you would not only gain the insights Chris Hedges has to offer, but look at Harold Bloom in the American Religion; like Hedges more right than he is wrong.
Look at the ABPnews story on the address Bill Leonard gave last week at the Charlotte CBF.
I have differences with Gene Scarborough, but I think with him would say there is a place for community for the likes of you if you can pass the microphone around a little, in the CBF.

Gene S said...

The most important question asked recently is: Are we better off now than in 1979?

Most have forgotten a thing called "Bold Mission Thrust." It was based on the idea that every person on this earth could have the opportunity to hear the Gospel message through new satellite technology. The SBC owned the transponder space, but had to sell it to Pat Robertson shortly after 1979.

What I am seeing is a repeat of the Disciples fussing and fighting over who will sit a Jesus' left or right. They were so intent on position and honor that they forgot people were watching the fist fight and asking, "Is this the way people serve God?"

Another time--at the Last Supper--they were so busy with position that no one bothered to wash feet---and Jesus did it as an example.

Folks, what did Jesus say about anyone who hurt a child (physical of spiritual)?

Will it take a millstone around the neck and a casting into the sea to bring this ugliness under control????

Dr. John Carlton, one of my favorite SEBTS Professors told of coming to his Texas home for his first college Thanksgiving. He was pontificating on all things newly learned in his first semester to the point no one could get a word in edgewise.

Finally, his father broke in saying, "Son, you are perfectly right-----in the most obnoxious way!"

Caner is a blow hard seeking an audience--and he got it by punching the right buttons of Moslim hatred flavored with a made up personal story.

The SBC is punching buttons on Inerrancy / homosexuality / woman submission / anything modern--BUT we are losing it! We argue and fight to the point churches are taking "Baptist" off the church sign. This is reality.

When will we look at the Master washing feet and putting a child on his lap---to chastise his first serious followers for their hateful arrogance?????

It matters not your theological position. If there is no love, you have nothing! If it doesn't make sense to a begger seeking spiritual food, it is bitter and tasteless NOTHING.

People are hungry for some truth and love in this messed up society--going broke by the minute. We are more interested in Socrates' "Fate of a Donkey" than the real issues facing us today of lostness and bitter politics and religion.

Little has changed from Jesus' day of a Temple wanting money and show while the poor and needy go un-noticed.

Anonymous said...

"In reality, the SBC Today Bunch are really nobodies in the Southern Baptist Convention. They are small church pastors and as far as I know hold know positions of any significance. But they do have a popular blog site, but other than that does anybody really listen to these guys or view them as leaders or representing anybody in the SBC?

I think you misunderstand their role. Think of them as sort of "human shields" for the Patterson, Vines, Brunson types.

Anonymous said...

"In reality, the SBC Today Bunch are really nobodies in the Southern Baptist Convention. They are small church pastors and as far as I know hold know positions of any significance. But they do have a popular blog site, but other than that does anybody really listen to these guys or view them as leaders or representing anybody in the SBC?

I think you misunderstand their role. Think of them as sort of "human shields" for the Patterson, Vines, Brunson types.

Anonymous said...

Tim Rogers:
Think about what you are saying. The statement does not say that Dr. Caner made “contradictory statements (aka, lies)” The statement says he made “Factual Statements that were self-contradicting”. Huge difference.

Tim Rogers (on SBCToday)
June 29th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

The statement actually reads "self-contradictory" rather than "self-contradicting," but that's certainly a minor quibble.

But, the above statement by Tim Rogers left me scratching my head.

That Rogers is willing to perceive a "huge difference" at this point between "contradictory statements" and "factual statements that were self-contradictory," frankly, boggles.

I don't understand it. I don't particularly want to.

If I didn't strongly suspect that any denominational entity will, naturally, develop its own share of irrational sycophancy, I would jump ship in a minute.

I note that the SBC elite (licked finger held up to the wind, I suspect), has remained conspicuously silent in this matter. That's progress, of a sort, I suppose (Darrell Gilyard?).

I post anonymously because my pastor, a godly man and competent expositor, is rather more than less an SBC "higher-up."

Note: I happen to believe CR was a good thing.

Note as well: when both critics and admirers of CR claim to observe the proverbial turd in the punch bowl, there is probably, in fact, a turd in the punch bowl.


Unknown said...

Can somebody please explain why and how Paige Patterson wields so much power in SBC. Is he real SBC Pope?

Steven Stark said...

John Wylie,

"His prayer was certainly appropriate because He was praying to God not to those congressmen."

I don't think this is exactly true. A person praying in public is trying to raise a voice for that public. Otherwise a silent prayer would do. Beamstalk had a good point about this. Is it good to marginalize the non-believers in the audience and in the greater public sphere? America is theirs as well.

"He has every right to desire and pray to God that our representatives be believers."

He certainly has the right. But that doesn't make it appropriate.

"There is obviously a disagreement in the definition of the term. (fundamentalist)"

Too true, friend. Wade's idea of using the term "authoritarianism" is a good one. I consider the views of conservative, evangelical Christianity to be fundamentalist - although I have to concede that the term has come to mean many other things that have to do with how we present our beliefs, not just the beliefs themselves.

Christiane said...


you wrote "I consider the views of conservative, evangelical Christianity to be fundamentalist ".

I tell you that I have seen a difference. There are many SBC people who do not harbor the venom and judgmentalism of fundamentalism.
There are some who do.

I guess the ones who are 'in power' (strange for a faith that is not hierarchical) took over about thirty years ago and initiated some fundamentalist activity in the SBC.
Many people were driven away.

But some stayed, and worked to make things better. They were attacked and continue to be attacked. But they have not abandoned their heritage and turned it over to the fundamentalists. I think these people are rather wonderful, Steven.

It's not my religion, but my grandmother was a Southern Baptist.
She was NOT a fundamentalist.
She was never like them.

Doug said...

Wade, you end this article saying:"It is the best, most visible example of why God must intervene in the Southern Baptist Convention and save it from the philosophy and tactics of Fundamentalism, or the SBC will die a slow, tortuous and angry death."
I would say you and others are TOO LATE - the dying has already begun and nothing - not even a glowing and ambitious GCR from Convention celebs - can stop it. To God be the Glory.

Ramesh said...

Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog [James White] > Washington Post Article on Caner Scandal

Anonymous said...

This website has come a lonnnngggg way---in the right direction---since it began a few years ago.

Thanks, Wade.

John Wylie said...

With all due respect, honestly how have the liberal denominations fared?

Fundamentalism/Conservativeism is not the express purpose that the SBC is in decline. The Liberal denominations have declined at a much higher rate. The CBF is in a pinch in their missions budget. According to a June 25 ABP article the CBF timmed more than two million dollars out of their budget and appointed a 14 person task force "to study the organization’s missional and organizational future." My point? If fundamentalism is the reason for the decline of the SBC, what is the reason for the decline of the CBF or for that matter the other moderate/liberal denominations?

Steven Stark said...


Sorry if I was unclear - I meant "fundamentalist" in the traditional context of beliefs, as Wade and John alluded to - not in the context of what it has come to mean today. I was trying, very poorly, to agree with John that "fundamentalist" has meant different things over the years.

Today fundamentalist means....well....Mean! Legalistic, inflexible, authoritarian, Machiavellian.

I come from a long line of Southern Baptists, most of whom would fit the moderate label these days. However, technically I would consider a dogmatic historical claim about the physical resurrection of Jesus to be a fairly fundamentalist claim. At best, a person should have faith (rather than firm, dogmatic belief) in the spiritual truth of the resurrection and perhaps cautiously accept the physical resurrection (or remain agnostic about such an extreme claim). Sorry if I am changing subjects, I just wanted to explain my meaning by using the term "fundamentalist" for conservative evangelical.

As the term is used today, I would not consider conservative Christians necessarily fundamentalist. I am sure that many conservative Christians genuinely respect the beliefs of others which, as my father taught me, means that you always hold open the possibility that you are wrong.

Mike said...

...John Wylie

The CBF is liberal? Please.

BeamStalk said...

Mike, not too mention that by John's logic, Joel Olsteen is preaching amazingly true doctrine, since he is still doing so well fiscally.

BeamStalk said...

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

So even pointing out they are having difficulties so they must be wrong is directly opposed by the Bible.

Bobby Brown said...

I wonder how many tens of thousands of people have not become Southern Baptists because of their unscriptural position on alcohol? But God permitted it. Perhaps He permits this ugly side as well to make the SBC even smaller. After all He is very concerned about the fame of His name and the smaller the army He fights the battle with the more famous His name becomes.

Gene Scarborough said...

Gene S said . . .

For some strange reason my Google identity doesn't always pop up, BUT you know who I am.

I am disappointed that we are splitting hairs over what a fundamentalist definition is. I think it badly misses the point!

Will anyone respond to my above post regarding how we are recreating the problem of the disciples over who will sit on the right or left of Jesus?

Whether one is a fundamentalist-conservative-moderate it is only a name and a distractor from the real issue above.

The real thing we face is control! Just like the Pharisees of old plotting against Jesus, they wanted to control and be properly funded!

The current SBC is controlled by a few. Paige Patterson is still the Pope--as pointed out above. Make no bones about it.

In my opinion, he is a conceited and pompous monkey leading other monekeys higher in the tree to only show their tails!

Today, despite all the GCR rhetoric, we have little respect from the general public. Every time a religious article appears in USA Today, the derision of organized religion is about 80% of the responses. The SBC post hardly got any responses. We are off the public interest these days!

Why are we so derided and disrespected so????

AND the worst thing is that we don't even acknowledge it!!!!

John Wylie said...

No you missed "John's Logic" totally. I do not believe that numbers or money are signs that a group is successful. Previous posters have stated that fundamentalism is the express reason for the decline in the SBC. My point is this, all denominations are in some sort of decline whether fundamental, conservative, moderate or liberal.

BeamStalk said...

John, then I apologize for misrepresenting your comment. That is what it seemed like to me what were saying in that comment.

John Wylie said...

Thank you Beam Stalk that was very gracious of you. I need to be more that way.

Ramesh said...

Christianity Today > Ergun Caner Out as Seminary Dean

Howell Scott said...


First-time poster, long-time reader. You stated that the folks at SBCToday, as of Tuesday, June 29 "went after any Southern Baptist who has publicly stated their refusal to believe Ergun Caner has been "exonerated" by Liberty's decision to remove him as President of Liberty Seminary. . . ." On Wednesday, June 30 at 6:26 p.m., I posted a rather lengthy comment publically stating my opinion that “exoneration” was an almost impossible case to make. It may be coincidental, but my comment is the last for that post. Seems no one at SBCToday, including the original author of the post nor any other commenter, has neither the time nor inclination to interact with my argument, although they have commented on subsequent posts. My wife thinks that they don’t understand what I wrote. I think they did, but have no good response. Go figure.

I perhaps know why no one has responded. I enter this arena not only as a Southern Baptist pastor for the past fourteen years, but also as a trained attorney. Before being called into the Gospel ministry, I obtained my Law Degree and then practiced law in Florida for three years. As an attorney, I looked at this issue (which I had not followed from the beginning) as one relating to a witness’ credibility. While I understand that that those who know Dr. Caner personally may be predisposed to defend him, the argument that he was exonerated by the Liberty University Committee is one that I do not believe can persuasively be made. Without getting into the details of my comment made at the end of “To Clear From Accusation or Blame,” I would kindly ask that you revisit that particular comment stream (or read a revised version of my comment on my new blog, at to see the argument that apparently no one at SBCToday wants to dialogue with me about. It may be a first for those guys!

I have not had a personal blog before nor have I even commented to any extent on anyone else’s blog (this is my fourth overall comment), but I have been pushed into the blog world by recent events at the S.B.C. Annual Meeting (particularly the sealing of the records of the GCRTF and the continuing redefinition of what it means to be a cooperating Southern Baptist) and finally by the total lack of response from the guys at SBCToday.

Wade, I do not know you personally, but I have members of my church (Bethel in Alamogordo, NM) who have family that are members of your church (one of whom was baptized a few weeks ago). While there are issues where we may not totally agree, I appreciate your independence and the principled stands that you have taken, often to your own detriment. Thanks for allowing me to join the conversation. God bless,

Howell Scott

Howell Scott said...


So sorry for the five identical posts. Word verification kept coming back as wrong. Told you I haven't done much commenting. Please delete the duplicate posts. Thanks said...

No problem Howell,

I read your comment on SBC Today and thought it was the best of the whole stream.

I'm surprised those guys didn't delete your comment. Comments that challenge them logically, ones they cannot answer, usually disappear -- like all of mine. :)