Monday, September 19, 2011

I Swear to Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God

Alexis de Tocqueville in his two volume work Democracy in America records the following anecdote of his visit to America in the spring of 1831: "While I was in America, a witness who happened to be called at the Sessions of Chester (state of New York) declared that he did not believe in the existence of God or the immortality of the soul. The judge refused to admit the evidence, on the ground that the witness had destroyed beforehand all the confidence of the court in what he was about to say. The presiding judge remarked that he had not before been aware that there was a man living who did not believe in the existence of God; that this belief constituted the sanction [in law, that which gives binding force] of all testimony in  a court of justice; and that he knew of no case in a Christian country where a witness had been permitted to testify without such a belief."

My, how times have changed.


Anonymous said...

How come you didn't allow comments on the Joel Gregory post?

Joe Blackmon said...

How come you didn't allow comments on the Joel Gregory post?

Well, if he's going to make the moronic statement that Truett is a seminary where "the Bible is believed" he knows he's going to be challenged by Christians and Don Quixote doesn't do challenges.

How's that mainstream resurrgence coming, Wade? ;-)

Tom Parker said...

Joe Blackmon:

You are something else?

Bob Cleveland said...

Indeed they have changed, but I don't see anything that Scripture didn't warn us would happen.

Doug said...

I don't know about this Wade - I know a few "pagans" that I trust more than some "Christians" - It's not who we claim to beleive - but what is inside of us!

Steven Stark said...

Thank Goodness!

Richard said...

Joe, have you attended Truett? If not, how can you be so authoritative about their teaching?

Jack said...

Joe, I know you were being sarcastic and rude when you referred to Wade as "Don Quixote", but some of us regard Don Quixote as a literary hero...much like we appreciate and respect Wade.

Thanks for finally seeing him as he deserves!

BTW Wade, I miss keeping up on convention happenings through your blogs. I certainly understand why you turned your efforts to other things. Especially in light of Joe and all the 'anonymous' commenters. But your voice is sadly missed!

Thanks for all you stand for Wade! Keep fighting those windmills!

Anonymous said...

There are a lot more things I would question besides his statements about Truett. It is hard to believe he could say that at Truett "the bible is believed" with a straight face.

Joe Blackmon said...

Joe, have you attended Truett? If not, how can you be so authoritative about their teaching?


Does the seminary and do all of the professors affirm verbal plenary inspiration? No

Do all the faculty affirm the historicty of the miracles recorded in scripture? No

Are there faculty members who reject the notion that sex outside of marriage (one man and one woman) is sin? I bet there are.

Are there faculty members who hold to inclusivism? I bet there are.

Therefore, Truett is not a seminary where the Bible is believed.

Richard said...

Joe, it is very clear that you expect a seminary to interpret the scripture just as you do. Baptist history and our tenet of the Priesthood of the Believer allow more individual freedom than that. Many of us were raised around that belief as a hallmark of our faith, and most of your criticisms appear to revolve around that point. I have not been to Truett, and, apparently, neither have you, since you never answered my first question. It would be more fair to say, "I do not agree with the way I perceive the Bible is interpreted by professors at Truett," and it would be more truthful. To assert that the statement that the seminary is a place where "the Bible is believed" is, in your words, 'moronic,' when you don't have a clue what is going on there, tells us that you make accusations with no evidence. Leave it alone, Joe, you're just throwing stones at an institution that is known for its faith identity and its academic integrity.

Joe Blackmon said...

Of course it is known for its "faith identity". That faith just doesn't happen to be Christian.

And they can (as you apparently do) believe those things if they want to. They just don't have the right to call themselves "Christian" when they do.

Anonymous said...

I have been there and know some of the professors personally and Joe is right in his analysis.

Joe Blackmon said...


You're just an ignorant fundy. I can't believe you would say something about those orthodox Christians at Truett. (/sarcasm)

By the way, Richard, if any of the professors and students hold to those points I made above they're not interpreting the Bible differently than me. They're interpreting the Bible exactly the opposite of the way God intended it to be interpreted.

You show ONE of those points to be anything other than Biblical if you can?

Richard said...

Joe, it is apparent that you are attempting to define Christianity according to your terms. I find our Lord's teaching and his life and Lordship to be far more accurate. A Christian university or seminary is one where these identities can be explored within the power of Christian love. I don't believe God has given you, or me, the mission of redefining what the word 'Christian' means. Instead, I'll take what Christ said, and how he lived, and how he speaks to me. If I don't agree with the way an academic institution follows that, I say so. But I would not be so arrogant as to tell them they are not Christian unless they verbally deny Christ. That has not happened here. At any rate, I must be done with this...I have other things to do. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Jesus said the true mark of his followers is love. Love one another. Based on your statements alone, Joe, you come across as one devoid of love for others who don't see things as you do. You sound like a Pharisee. You make statements that are not necessarily true, and unfortunately appear to have missed the most important thing of all...loving God and loving people.

May God heal you of whatever it is that continues to bind you with anger and bitterness. There's hope for you, Joe, and it's found in Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

And as is true of all liberals, they always say we don't "love" them when we point out their heresies.

Keep up the work Joe. I enjoy reading your comments and especially enjoy them when it makes a liberal uncomfortable.

Richard said...

Who's "uncomfortable?"

Joe Blackmon said...


Love does NOT mean toleration of heresy. When seminaries have professors who believe that Jesus wasn't born of a virgin and that muslims will be accepted into heaven if they are sincere in their faith of islam (that satanic religion started by a pedophile) then don't stand there scratching your head in confusion when Christians point out that the seminary is NOT Christian. And it certainly isn't where the Bible is believed.

Anonymous said...


We continue to pray that God will heal you of whatever it is that continues to bind you with anger and bitterness. There's hope for you and it's found in Jesus Christ. Only He can set you free.

Joe Blackmon said...


It would be much more entertaining if you'd try to demonstrate from scripture where any point I've made isn't true. And no, blathering that "You're a meanie-pants!" doesn't count.

Just take one--prove from scripture how someone could be a Christian and reject the virgin birth of Christ.

Word verification=nrwmindfndy
Narrow Minded Fundy? I like the sound of it.

Anonymous said...


The Pharisees were the best at using Scripture to defend their errant points of view. In their arrogance, they pronounced all others as wrong and only they were right. Yet Jesus denounced the Pharisees harshly for they neglected justice and the love of God. Let God's love change you, Joe. He can heal and help you and set you free from all that binds you. He loves you, Joe. Don't resist his love any longer.

Joe Blackmon said...

The Pharisees were the best at using Scripture to defend their errant points of view.

And Jesus corrected their errant points of view with scripture. So why don't you take one of my points and correct it. Just one. Show me why someone who rejected the virgin birth can still be a Christian.

Anonymous said...

On Paul Burleson’s blog:

you said: “The real hope for the SBC would be for people and churches to be told "This is what you BETTER believe. If you don't, you will be dealt with."

I’d like to ask why you never answered replies but seemed to leave like a whipped puppy dog.

Maybe you should take the advice a teacher once told a student: “Rub heads with a horse and maybe you will get some sense.”

You get no thanks for high jacking a great post by Wade by making it all about you.
Rex Ray

Joe Blackmon said...

Gee, Rex, probably because I had not been back there.

In any case, I'm awfully glad to see you around because seeing your name reminds me of all those missionaries that were fired because they weren't willing to stand for what the Bible teaches. It brings a smile to my face everytime I think about it.

Anonymous said...

It brings a smile to your face every time you think about godly missionaries being fired? That's sad. But know that you are being prayed for. May you turn to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to heal you and set you free from the bitterness and insecurity that seems to control you. He can set you free, Joe. Don't resist his love any longer. Repent and turn to the Lord. He's your only hope.

While Joe could benefit from rubbing heads with a horse to get some sense, what he really needs is a genuine encounter with the living Lord Jesus Christ. Let's pray that Joe will turn to the Lord and receive the healing and help that he needs.

Anonymous said...

Of course it is known for its "faith identity". That faith just doesn't happen to be Christian.

What faith does it happen to be?

George W. Truett Theological Seminary is a traditional, evangelical seminary committed to our historic Baptist principles.

At Truett Seminary we believe that Jesus Christ is God, the eternal Word, and the only Savior of the world and that there is no salvation apart from Him.

We believe the scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament are inspired, authoritative, written Word of God given to teach us what to believe and how to live.

We have no creed but the Bible, but we accept and teach consistently with what traditional Baptists have generally believed through the years.

We believe in God's sovereignty and the autonomy of the local church. God calls men and women into the ministry and churches call them to serve on their staffs. Our task is to help prepare people for their calling. We exist not for ourselves but to serve the churches.

Joe Blackmon said...

At Truett Seminary we believe that Jesus Christ is God, the eternal Word, and the only Savior of the world and that there is no salvation apart from Him.

Ah, but like any good moderate, you left yourself wiggle room. Salvation is through Christ, but you would (and do) allow people to teach there who hold that it doesn't have to come consciously through Christ (i.e. sincere followers of other faiths will get to heaven through Christ without consciously trusting Christ--inclusivism).

We believe the scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament are inspired, authoritative, written Word of God given to teach us what to believe and how to live.

But that word of God is not inerrant? Yeah, again, very careful wording. You moderates are good at measuring your words.

We believe in God's sovereignty and the autonomy of the local church. God calls men and women into the ministry and churches call them to serve on their staffs. Our task is to help prepare people for their calling. We exist not for

Now, there was a time when I would have dismissed all egals as unChristian twits, but I've had to come to admit that there are egals who believe the gospel--the true gospel. So I can't say being egal makes one a liberal. But it is the case, as exampled by Truett, that those egals also reject the key doctrine of inerrancy and also embrace or tolerate (which is as bad as embracing) inclusivism.

In other words, they're people who don't really matter.

So, what kind of faith is it? I don't know. Why don't you tell me?

Chris Ryan said...


I will make only this comment, and I do not intend to be back to comment more as I no longer have the time to regularly argue with an idiot (from idios, meaning concerned only about oneself, one who makes oneself the measure of all things).

At Truett, we study the Bible. We believe that what it says is of the highest importance. The words therein are the words of God that are useful for teaching and instructing His people. They are for our formation and we believe that you cannot be Christian without the principles in that sacred text. I would challenge you to come and sit in just one class with Dr. Gloer and walk away saying that we do not believe the Bible. You couldn't do it. I challenge you to come and sit in preaching class with Dr. Gregory and hear him say time and time again that it is not a sermon if the central theme of the text is not the central theme of the sermon and then say that we do not preach the Bible. In my third year, I have never once heard a teacher deny that Jesus performed miracles. Come sit in a class with Dr. Porter or Dr. Stroope and tell us that we do not believe that Jesus Christ is the only hope for the world. Those are your strawmen, and I doubt you will ever give them up. After all, you wouldn't want facts to get in the way of a good story.

What we don't do, and what you want us to do, is read the Bible at face value. We interpret it in light of genre, in light of our best theories on its purpose and themes and thrusts and backgrounds, so that we do NOT try and make it say what it does not really say.

We strive to say nothing less than what scripture says, but we also try to say more than is there. We will leave pontificating the precise meanings of ambiguous statements to those like yourself who are not comfortable in the ambiguous place of faith and trust in God. For that reason, yes, we learn to be very precise with our language. If we are not careful to speak of God carefully, we then forget that even our best attempts are nothing but metaphors and analogies for the unspeakable glory that is the reality of God. When we think we actually know God, beyond what little is expressly revealed, then we speak of what we do not and cannot know. Some, like yourself, need to feel that they know. Others of us don't.

The facts, Joe, are that the debates you consider so firmly settled have been argued back and forth for two millennia now. They have taken different forms at different times, but any historian can tell you that there is nothing new under the sun. I will promise you that where the church has reached a consensus, Truett does not deviate: we believe in one Triune God, creator of heaven and earth. We believe in one means of salvation, Jesus Christ, for the entire cosmos. And we believe in one Spirit who animates the Church and sustains her as she carries out God's mission to redeem all the world to Himself. Parse the details all you want. Others have done it for centuries and obviously the debates continue. Only you and those like you insist that the debates be shut by the authority of your opinion of how a certain text ought to be read.

What kind of faith do we have here? I can tell you that it is Christian. It is the kind of faith that animates us to pray, to praise, to serve, to preach, to love God and to love others. It is not a faith that we come to easily: we are spoon-fed nothing at all, we are not allowed to back away from the depths of inquiry and doubt before we have faced them fully. Our conclusions are not always yours, but they are Christian. Why? Because our confession is your own: Jesus is Lord. Everything else is merely our best attempts to explain what those three words mean. And what we find is that nothing we say is ever quite adequate to the task of explaining that inexhaustible confession. But we keep on saying that. And we keep on meaning that. And, by golly, we're bound and determined to see that others learn, by the grace of God, to make that confession, too.

Rex Ray said...

Anonymous with no name,
I believe Joe represents the attitude of those in power that fired missionaries. I doubt they are as gleeful as Joe. I would not judge them as not being Christians but their egos demanded missionaries to bow to their man-made paper. They are self-appointed judges and have become the modern day Christian Judaisers. They got elected to their positions by labeling any opposition as liberal Bible doubters because they refused to be one of them in making “inerrancy” a code word for acceptance that’s become more political than religious.

Whose influence besides the devil’s has drowned witches, burned Christians, fired missionaries, and in the name of God? There is no stronger hatred than religious hatred.

The background that ended with missionaries being fired started with an email by Scott McIntosh, a team leader/strategy coordinator for the IMB in Scotland that said he didn’t want the Baptist Press newspaper sent to him. The email ended up on the desk of Morris Chapman, President of the Executive Committee who told Jerry Rankin, President of the IMB, to call McIntosh and find out why he had written the email and where he stood on denominational matters. Rankin told the missionary: “Now we have to do some damage control, and this might cause missionaries to have to sign the Baptist Faith & Message.” (Baptist Standard)

In June 2002, after receiving a ‘certificate of appreciation’ for construction in Japan, I sent Rankin a five page letter with the above information. First I thanked him for being a friend to my son who was a missionary in Israel, and for not firing my friend who had accepted being pastor of the Tokyo Baptist Church. (He was given permission to be interim pastor but NOT pastor. He was fired later.)

On August 8, 2002, Rankin replied to my letter:
“Dear Brother Ray, I apologize for my delay in answering your letter…I appreciated your kind comments about me…It was gratifying to hear your involvement in missions…It is obvious that you have been reading the Baptist Standard whose reports bear little resemblance to truth…our board drafted a policy that current missionaries would not be required to sign the revised BF&M…Morris Chapman did not ask me to call Scott McIntosh, as reported; I did so because of my personal concern for one of our effective missionaries I respected who was obviously having a problem due to some unfortunate perceptions…Where did anyone get the idea that our missionaries are being forced to sign something that they may not agree with, or that anyone would be terminated if they did not respond to my request?...I am disappointed that you would presume to attribute motives of “enlarged egos” to those conscientious denominational leaders who are seeking to keep the SBC anchored to the inerrant [note code-word] word of God. Where does scripture justify such judgmentalism?”

Well, what Rankin said didn’t work out did it? I believe he was pressured by people like Joe to fire missionaries to keep his job.

If “Have no other gods before Me” includes the Bible, then it surly includes the BFM 2000 as being our doctrinal guideline that’s in SBC ligature.

Anonymous said...

I am a graduate of Truett. I don't waive a Truett banner by any means, I'm actually embarrassed that I chose it. I should have looked at it more closely.

Truett is, at best, a moderate seminary. When considering that it is a Baptist seminary--in Texas, no less--it falls on the liberal side of the spectrum. Obviously, it is more conservative than most seminaries, as there are many that are quite liberal by any standard. In the Baptist world, however, it is a liberal one.

I felt betrayed by Truett's claims to conservatism. I knew I was in for a wild ride in the first few weeks. Actually, I felt like an outsider there, as my views were viewed as radical (e.g. women in ministry, inerrancy, homosexuality, etc.). I ended up just sitting in class--trying to get through it all. I REALLY should have transferred to another seminary.

You are correct in that the inspiration of Scripture is an issue. It's all about the definition of what 'inerrant' is.... Truett faculty and most students would say that they do believe in inerrancy. However, I would say that their definition does not match most conservatives' definition. So, do they believe the Bible? No, not in its totality. There is a little bit of "picking and choosing," but really... we all do that to some extent.

I think what is most important is that we are graceful with one another's shortcomings, and resist the temptation to call what we do not agree with as heterodox.

I am convinced that all Truett faculty and students love the Lord. I do not call their salvation into question. I freely admit that I will never recommend Truett to anyone considering seminary, but I will stop short of imprecatory statements.

In short, we really shouldn't label everyone that interprets things differently than we do as heretics. We're all fallen, and we fall well short of God's glory. Some interpret things more rightly than others, but throwing the heresy label is a bit too strong, in my opinion.

There were no issues that threatened salvation in the classrooms a Truett when I was there. There may have been a few theological positions that are liberal, but that falls well short of worthy of damnation.