Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Russell Moore of 2007 and the Russell Moore of 2019 Illustrates Baptists Can Change Our Minds

Dr. Russell Moore speaking at the 2019 SBC
One of the more remarkable moments in the 2019 Birmingham Southern Baptist Convention occurred during the question and answer portion of Dr. Russell Moore report from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

A young man asked Dr. Moore about a comment that Russell had made in 2007 that indicated he believed a woman should never "teach a man" or "preach to men."

The young man read Moore's 2007 quote in full, then asked:
"Is this still your position on women preaching in the church?"
Dr. Moore gave a lengthy response that included these words:
"The idea that we are listening too much to women in the Southern Baptist Convention is not an idea that makes very much sense to me right now."
Later, Dr. Moore stated:
"That was the Russell Moore of 2007 and this is the Russell Moore of 2019. 
Social media has been on fire over this issue. It's similar to the controversy that ensued in 2007 when Dr. Sheri Klouda was terminated from Southwestern Seminary for teaching men Hebrew.
Some think that their belief in weak women and warrior men is biblical. 
Some think that the promotion of declarative men to "teaching positions of authority" and the prohibition of deceived women from "imitating the authority of a teaching elder" is biblical. 
Some think that their views that men are always in control as they lead, defend, and fight while women are always in submission as they follow, receive, and acquiesce are biblical. 
Those who think these things about women have made one huge mistake.
They believe that their interpretations of the Scriptures are inerrant and authoritative rather than in the inerrant and the authoritative Scriptures with a humble awareness that they could be in error in their interpretations of it.  
The argument against the increased role of leadership from women in the Southern Baptist Convention on social media goes like this:
"This should never happen!" they cry. "We who believe the Bible must stick to what the Bible teaches! The Bible teaches women should be silent and submit to the authority of men." 
The Southern Baptist who are restricting women from positions of servant leadership and corporate instruction never give pause to consider if they are actually wrongly interpreting the infallible, authoritative Scriptures.

I believe any Bible teaching that refuses to acknowledge Spirit-gifted, God-called, Christ-honoring servant leaders of humble character - regardless of gender - is a gross misinterpretation of the infallible and authoritative Scriptures.

Of course, I can fellowship and cooperate with those who disagree with me in the SBC.

Change is coming soon in the SBC to reflect a more biblical approach toward women. The Southern Baptist Convention may even have a female President sooner rather than later.
But if Baptists believe the Bible, how can Baptists change their minds about what the Bible teaches?
 How can Russell Moore and others change their views on what the Bible teaches about women? And, yes, he has changed his interpretation of the sacred text.

Russell Moore believes, like I, in the authoritative and inspired sacred text. We are inerrantists.

But we realize Baptists don't always get it right in terms of interpretations.

That's our history as Baptists.

Let me show you what I mean with a quick history of Baptists changing our minds.

Baptist Pastors Receiving No Salary

Elijah Craig (1738-1808), was one of the most well-known Baptist preachers of his day. He was influential in the Baptists of Virginia helping to adopt the First Amendment of the United States. Elijah later served as pastor of the large Crossing Baptist Church (Kentucky). Elijah is said by one historian to have “played a vital role in communicating the views of the Virginia Baptists to the new state government."

Elijah Craig wrote a book entitled A Few Remarks on the Errors That Are Maintained in the Christian Churches of the Present Day (1801). In it he wrote:
"Pastors…are precluded by the Scriptures from receiving any compensation for their services...”
Well, I would expect that out of the 8,000 Southern Baptists pastors present at Birmingham last week, the vast majority of them will be glad that Baptists have changed our position on what the Bible teaches about paying pastors.

But there's more...

Baptist Drinking and Distributing Whisky

Baptist Pastor Elijah Craig made his living to support his wife and six kids by inventing Kentucky Bourbon, a corn liquor aged in charred barrels, and selling it to the general public.

Elijah Craig Bourbon, produced since 1789 in the distillery Baptist pastor Elijah Craig named Heaven Hill, is still available for purchase around the world.

This past year (2018), Elijah Craig Bourbon was voted America's best bourbon.

What? I thought the Southern Baptist Convention has always deemed the sell and use of alcohol to be a sin? No. Not even close.

In 1796, the Elkhorn Baptist Association, a Kentucky association (constituted in 1785), ruled that "denying a member church membership because he sold intoxicants was unjustified." It was not until 100 years later (1886) that the Southern Baptist Convention began passing resolutions against alcohol.

So Southern Baptists have changed our minds on paying pastors and drinking whiskey.

But there's more.

Baptists Smoking and Selling Tobacco

Add caption
The first Baptist church which called Elijah Craig to be their pastor, the Blue Run Baptist Church, met in a tobacco farm shed. That's right. All the members smoked tobacco and sold it to make a living - including their pastor.

Baptists in Elijah Craig's day smoked and chewed tobacco, drank and sold whiskey, and wouldn't pay their pastors a salary.

But there's more.

Baptists Giving Grief to the Government

It was while plowing his field in 1768, that Baptist pastor Elijah Craig was arrested and imprisoned for seventeen days for preaching “schismatick doctrines.”

Contrary to many modern Southern Baptist leaders who believe national government and the church should be one and the same, Baptist pastor Elijah Craig advocated that government and the church should always be separated. Government officials imprisoned him.

But apparently, the prison couldn’t keep Elijah from preaching. Baptists gathered outside the jail, and this Baptist pastor named Elijah Craig preached the gospel through the bars of his jail window. Consequently, the authorities built a high wall around the prison to keep people from hearing.

Eventually, Elijah Craig was released to go back to his whiskey and tobacco business - and to preaching the gospel.

But there's more.

Baptists Seeing Slavery as Scriptural

Baptist Pastor Elijah Craig and the members of his congregation needed people to work their tobacco fields, char their bourbon barrels, and carry their fermented corn (bourbon) to the market.

Southern Baptists for decades believed that holding slaves was not only biblical Christianity, they also preached tens of thousands of messages on the evil of abolition

Of course, we've changed our minds...once again. 


Nobody has ever accused me of holding back from speaking my mind, so let me summarize this little history lesson and bring it back to 2019 and the Southern Baptist Convention's imminent change on its patriarchal views of men and women. 
"I'll not believe a Southern Baptist pastor cannot change his mind about what the Bible teaches about women until I meet a Southern Baptist pastor who receives no salary, who smokes tobacco and drinks whiskey regularly, who refuses to identify with any political party to the point of prison, and who can introduce me to the slaves he keeps in his house."
Until then, I'd encourage Southern Baptist preachers to stop the shallow sanctimonious sermonettes on restricting women from leadership roles and teaching roles.

Maybe it's you who is missing the actual teaching of the Bible on women.

The history of Baptists and the changes that have come our way indicates I know of what I speak. 


David said...

I’ve always found it odd that this passage:
“But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

is to be taken literally, so that there are no women pastors in SBC churches, but this one:

“namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.”

is not, and there are numerous unmarried and childless pastors in SBC churches.

Ken F said...

Hi David,
1st Tim 3 adds the requirement to own a house. So in addition to being married and having more than one child, an elder has to live in a house in order to manage a household. He cannot live in an apartment, condo, trailer home, or RV.

Tom said...

Wade, does this response made by Dr. Moore reflect what was said?

The young man read Moore's 2007 quote in full, then asked:

"Is this still your position on women preaching in the church?" Dr. Moore gave a lengthy response that included these words:

"The idea that we are listening too much to women in the Southern Baptist Convention is not an idea that makes very much to me right now."

Later, Dr. Moore stated:

"That was the Russell Moore of 2007 and this is the Russell Moore of 2019.”

I wonder if your fingers stumbled a little and either typed the wrong word into the sentence or malfunctioned and left a word out.

Should the sentence in question have been written as: -

A. - "The idea that we are listening too much to women in the Southern Baptist Convention is not an idea that means very much to me right now."
B. - - "The idea that we are listening too much to women in the Southern Baptist Convention is not an iea that makes very much sense to me right now."

It is your call to decide as to whether it should be corrected.



Victorious said...

Ken F:

How about this to add to the confusion?

He must manage his own household well...1Tim. 3:4

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households ...1Tim. 5:14

Tom said...


PS: - Should the word "right" also be included the sentence?

Christiane said...

people pushing women down and at the same time being confronted about rampant sex abuse cases ought to be able to make the 'connection' between the two, perhaps later than sooner, but pride is a strange sin with tendrils that bind reason and this sin is woven all through the tragedy of misogyny where all involved are wounded and there are no 'winners' . . . those who set out to victimize or abuse or 'lord it over' others find that they themselves become trapped in their own web eventually

“I ask no favor for my sex;
all I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”
(Ruth Bader Ginsberg)

Victorious said...

Christiane, if you haven't seen the movie, "On the Basis of Sex" which is the story about Ginsberg's journey to the Supreme Court, I think you'd be impressed. Impressed with both her and her husbands support of one another through the years. From the Washington Post overview:

But mostly take your sons because it’s important for them to see powerful, brilliant men in partnering roles. And because Marty Ginsburg — who in real life championed his wife’s Supreme Court appointment and truly was an excellent cook — is an illustration of a man who understood that his manhood didn’t need to be threatened by his wife’s success, any more than it needed to be threatened by the testicular cancer he learned of early in their marriage. After his diagnosis, Ruth doubled up on her class load and typed out his law school papers so he could graduate. He went on to become an esteemed Georgetown professor.

My sister and I really enjoyed learning about the struggles of both Ruth and Marty Ginsburg and how they support one another.

Ken F said...

"How about this to add to the confusion?"

Hi Victorious,

And it gets worse - Jesus was not qualified to be an elder because he had no wife, children, or household.

Jacque's Blog said...

And your point Ken? Jesus? Really? Just tell Him that He is unqualified for anything?

Christiane said...

Hello Ken F. and Victorious,

great list of 'musts' to limit access to becoming an 'elder', LOL

The thing about Our Lord is that we are to live in imitation of Him, and when all these other 'rules' prevent that, and people say those 'rules' are 'biblical';
then we have a problem:

where DOES Our Lord fit in with such people who claim to know all the 'musts and the 'shoulds' and 'must nots'? I don't think they have room for Him, do they? In fact, in the BF&M 2K, Our Lord was REMOVED as the 'lens' through which scripture was to be understood, so . . . .
no wonder these people got lost, no wonder . . . .

VICTORIOUS, thank you for the reply:
I have seen television presentations about the life of the Notorious RBG, but I haven't yet seen the film and am looking forward to it very much. It is a beautiful thing how much her husband loved her, was 'in love' with her . . . by all accounts a very decent and good man. What a beautiful marriage they shared together. She goes on alone now, and it frail, but I think she knows just how much she is needed as a voice for women AND for men in this country, and I hope she lives a long time. We live in interesting times. God help us all.

RB Kuter said...

Wade quotes Russell Moore as saying, "That was the Russell Moore of2007 and this is the Russell Moore of 2019."

Then, "Those who think these things about women have made one huge mistake. They believe that their interpretations of the Scriptures are inerrant and authoritative rather than in the inerrant and the authoritative Scriptures with a humble awareness that they could be in error in their interpretations of it. (Presumably, Wade is referring to those who say that the role of women in ministry should be limited. What makes him think that "his" interpretation is inerrant or authoritative is beyond me.)

One other Wade quote; "I believe any Bible teaching that refuses to acknowledge Spirit-gifted, God-called, Christ-honoring servant leaders of humble character-regardless of gender- is a gross misinterpretation of the infallible and authoritative Scriptures." (Fine for you to think that, but to conclude that the opposing view is a gross misinterpretation" does not make it so.)

And one final Wade quote: "I'd encourage Southern Baptist preachers to stop the shallow sanctimonious sermonettes on restricting women from "authority over men" and from "teaching men. Maybe it's you who is missing the actual teaching of the Bible on women."


I hope Wade's comments are not reflective of the spirit in our SBC but given our contemporary society's tendency to "blow with the direction of the wind", I suppose it is. Wade's position is certainly politically correct in today's times. In spite of claims of humility, etc., I detect that Wade may have his own bit of authoritarianism and fundamentalism and perhaps portray a bit of being unanchored in the sense of shifting with the winds. Wade, I don't mean to be offensive, but that's simply the feelings I had when reading your blog post.

I certainly see nothing that should give us confidence in Russell Moore as being worthy to lead us given the fact that he suddenly reverses his convictions when the winds of popular opinion seem to be altering from what they were in 2007. I'm not too surprised at that, but certainly not impressed by his having a sense of discernment, sincere convictions, insights, etc., that would result in his being qualified to lead Southern Baptists on moral or ethical positions.

Wade has admittedly reversed his positions on matters of Convention politics since the early days of the Conservative takeover. Now you presume to have the Scriptural scoop on what the Bible means in regards to the issue of women in ministry roles to the point of saying that those with an opposite perspective from yours should "stop the shallow sanctimonious sermonettes on restricting women from "authority over men" and from "teaching men."

Wade, given all of the wishy-washy, fluid, and shifting of opinion and positions on these difficult, deep, and debatable issues, just what makes you think you have a lock on what is God's intent and what is "shallow and sanctimonious"? There are many aspects of God's intent for the role of women in Kingdom work that you apparently do not consider. If you did, you might be a bit more receptive to there being alternative views from yours that are Biblically credible and you might find that you were a bit less confident that you have the true and right position that God intends to be followed.

Point being, this is not a clear-cut matter as would be slavery, abortion, homosexuality, or God's means of salvation. Openness to the possible viability of opposing positions might be a lot more productive in our coming to a consensus.

Ken F said...

Hi Jauque,
I'm glad you got my point. Strict, wooden literalism can result in a odd conclusions. Also, it was not me who wrote that Jesus failed to qualify as an Elder. It is Paul who wrote it. If we think that Paul really did not prohibit single, or childless, or non-homeowner men from being elders, what else should we think that Paul really did not mean?

Christiane said...

"a clear-cut matter as would be . . . . God's means of salvation"

Si comprendis, non est Deus.

RB Kuter said...

Mi español no es tan bueno. ¿Puedes escribir de nuevo en inglés por favor?

Anonymous said...

Some probing questions...would Russell Moore attend a church that had women pastors.

According to Dwight McKissic he does...remember what he said about calling lady
Pastors ..Directors!

this is the church that Russell Moore attends in Nashville

Anonymous said...

Why does Russell Moore attend a church that has Ruling elders...this definetly makes them Non-Baptistic.

Anonymous said...

Ruling elders gonna rule----even over Russell Moore.

Anonymous said...

See you cant Rule over everybody in your church by telling that you cant be political then let the chief political officer of the denomination be political.
The Bible calls that Rule from God a sin:partiality to be specific.

Christiane said...

maybe the elders are called 'serving elders' ???

that would be more in context with the Christian model of leadership, sure

RB Kuter said...

Robert, I checked out the church website you gave. Doesn't appear to have "a" woman pastor to me.
Christiane, so what do you hold to be the "Christian model of leadership"?

Christiane said...

Hello Mr. Kuter,

the 'Christian model of leadership' ?

" Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross "

Mr. Kuter, Our Lord IS the model for servant-leadership, He came here to help us in 'the form of a servant', He humbled Himself in order to redeem us and He willingly gave His life for our sake

There IS no other model for 'Christian leadership', no. Only Him. Even the Catholic Pope is called 'the servant of the servants of God', an ancient title

Those who are 'authoritarian' in ways that are not humble, or those who 'lord it over' folks instead of serving them and caring for them in ministry: I have to question if they are 'Christian' leaders who have conformed themselves to the Mind and Heart of Our Lord.

I may not understand evangelical thinking here, but all Christian people know of St. Paul's words in Philippians, Ch. 2, and in my Church that famous whole passage is called a 'pithian' capsulation of the gospel.

I hope this answers your question.

If not, please let me know. I will try again.

Anonymous said...

Mr Kuter,
That church is my church.

let me repeat what maybe you did not hear Dwight McKissic say ....we have always had Lady pastors in SBC life we just call them Directors instead of Pastors.

I did not grew up in a Southern Baptist church and the churches that I attended believe in No female leadership.

Here is a church that I believe models the true Biblical headship.

and this statement.
Distinct roles of men and women.
Men and women stand as equals before God. Without making one inferior to the other, God calls men and women to distinct roles and responsibilities. In the home, men are called to lead and to love like Christ, and women are called to submit to their own husbands (Ephesians 5) and to give priority to their homes and families (Titus 2). At LBC, women serve in many vital roles, including teaching women and children, giving public testimony of what God has done in their lives, and serving on a variety of ministry teams. But, as spelled out in 1 Timothy 2:12, teaching men and serving as a pastor, elder, or deacon are roles reserved for men.

Victorious said...

Robert Masters said,
men are called to lead and to love like Christ, and women are called to submit to their own husbands (Ephesians 5)

* Please provide scripture where men are commanded to "lead" their wives or have authority over them

* In mentioning Ephesians, you neglected verse 21....Eph 5:21  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. There is no indication that husbands are exempt from submission.

* Please refer to this list of 59 "One Another's" in the NT that define the mutual behavior all believers are to have toward one another. Again, husbands are not exempt.

* Elders in 1 Tim. 5 are defined in the Greek as those who are of an older/senior age:


Thayer Definition:
1) elder, of age
1a) the elder of two people
1b) advanced in life, an elder, a senior

And last but not least, Jesus denounced the practice of exercising authority over others but rather serving one another as He does. Mark 10:42-45

No mention of roles, hierarchy, or leadership. Just serving one another. Please refer to the list at the link above and hopefully you will abandon the desire to read authority in scripture where there is no.

Kelley Kimble said...

I have been reading Clement's First Letter to the Corinthians. Awhile back, I decided that perhaps reading the early church fathers' work would give me greater insight in to how we got where we are, with all these denominations with their own understandings and applications of what is "Biblical." I have finished the first 13 chapters of Clement's letter, and so far there is not one mention of authority or even gender roles, but repeated pleas for unity and humility; to imitate Christ as the humble servant. I find this fascinating.

Ken F said...

Hi Kelley,
A few years ago I did the same thing - started reading early church writings. It was not what I had originally hoped for or expected. I was thinking the early church would appeal to my protestant inclinations. Instead, I found it looking much more liturgical and sacramental than I had wished. I don't regret the decision to go down that path because it opened up Christian ways of thinking and believing that I was unaware of. It ruined me for Protestantism, but not for Christianity.

RB Kuter said...

Christiane, I get your point about being "serving elders". And I, of course, agree with your portrayal of what the Bible says regarding the humility and servant attitude of "leaders".

It is unfortunate and contradictory to what Christ taught when those filling leadership positions function in a domineering, self-serving, manner seeing themselves as infallible. But unfortunately, pastors with a genuine spirit of humility are not that common.

RB Kuter said...

Robert Masters, I better understand your views and appreciate your expounding a bit more about these churches. I believe the rub comes when people equate "equality" as meaning women are qualified to serve as the pastor of a church.

Same goes for the husband and wife being "equal" partners in a marriage. They are equal in value but serve in distinctively different roles.

I don't get where Victorious arrives at her conclusion that the Bible does not say that the husband is to be the leader in the family. Of course, Ephesians does say that the husband and wife are to submit to one another, but that does not diminish the husband's role and responsibility/obligation to serve as the leader. This goes along with Christiane's portrayal of "servant leadership" as portrayed by Christ.

There is, and never was, any doubt in Jesus Christ being THE head/leader of His church. But He filled that function in all humility, servanthood, and recognition of the value of His church as being the personification of His "bride". No, His bride cannot usurp His distinctive function as being the "head", i.e., leader, of His church.

Victorious said...

Hello RB Kuter,

Of course, Ephesians does say that the husband and wife are to submit to one another, but that does not diminish the husband's role and responsibility/obligation to serve as the leader.

Please provide a New Testament text where men/husbands are given authority over women/wives or are permitted to act as their leaders. The only obligation/responsibility I have found for a husband is that of agape love for his wife. (Ephesians 5)

I'm not certain where the term "servant leader" originated, but I'd like to have a scriptural reference.

Again, there is no scripture that exempts men/husbands from mutually submitting to women/wives.

Paul demonstrates the equality and reciprocity within marriage throughout chapter 7 of Corinthians.

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 1 Cor. 7:3-4

If you refer to the list of 59 "one-another's" at the link I posted above, you will see the interaction between all believers (which includes husbands and wives) is mutually beneficial.

Good exegesis involves providing evidence for our beliefs and doctrines. I've found none that entitles men/husbands to have authority over women/wives.


Anonymous said...

"His bride cannot usurp His distinctive function as being the "head", i.e., leader, of His church."

His Bride is composed of the Body of Christ which includes men and women in it

RB Kuter said...

Victorious said, "Good exegesis involves providing evidence for our beliefs and doctrines."

I hope you are not proposing that you use "good exegesis" and those who may have a view different from you do not.

I'm not sure what is your point. Do you interpret being a "leader" as saying the person filling that role does not have authority over those he/she leads? Are you saying that you do not believe a "leader" can serve those he/she leads with a spirit of servitude toward those being led and to his/her Master, Jesus Christ? Are you saying there should be NO "leaders" in the church/family/business/military/government?

The position of leadership includes "authority". Not to do so would be foolish, like delegating responsibility without delegating authority that is assigned to that position.

"I'm not certain where the term "servant leader" originated, but I'd like to have a scriptural reference." Perhaps it's like the term, "Trinity", or "ordination" where there are no specific references using those terms in Scripture but the concept is presented, as with Jesus saying that He, THE leader, did not come to "be served" but "to serve" those He leads.

Sometimes we can reject some truths given due to not objectively considering the possibilities of application, even when we practice "good exegesis".

William Davis said...

One thing about it....if Baptist Pastors took no pay the amount of "called men" would go down drastically and we would see those staying as truly called and not hirelings...funny how the vast majority of baptist pastors are always "called" to higher paying positions...mmmmmm?!

Victorious said...

RB Kuter,

I hope you are not proposing that you use "good exegesis" and those who may have a view different from you do not.

I am proposing that scriptural evidence is required to substantiate our beliefs. I think you would agree with that. Sweeping assumptions from small premises normally do not stand up to scrutiny and that's why we need to be good Bereans to search the scriptures to ascertain the truth.

So if some have emphatically stated the principle of male rule and/or God-given authority to do so, there must be scriptural evidence for that "truth."

(servant-leader) ... the concept is presented, as with Jesus saying that He, THE leader, did not come to "be served" but "to serve" those He leads.

There is scriptural evidence that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. This evidence (Matt 20:28) that Jesus as the "Son of Man" identifies with a servant. Later, Jesus identifies Himself as their "teacher and Lord" (His deity) (John 13:14) and still admonishes "washing one-another's feet and sets the example for them. It's the difference between the humanity and deity of Jesus in scripture and I think that's a whole new subject. Nevertheless, there is still no reference to encouraging authority over one another.

Without a scripture to support husbands being a leader and/or authority over their wives, it's an erroneous teaching.

Christiane said...

Hello Victorious,

I like your example of foot-washing. It sure beats all that mess that goes on with 'membership contracts' and 'authority' in some Churches.

The contrast is perfectly clear: the example of Our Lord in caring for His Disciples in that humble way is not consistent with much of the 'lording over' behaviors shown by some who say that they follow Him.

I guess it's the sin of pride that blinds people. It never was 'top-down' leadership, no. It was always about 'helping to bear one another's burdens', often in humble service. Somewhere is a pastor who is on his knees cleaning the toilets in his Church and trying to figure out how he can help the person who usually does this work who is now very sick and struggling to cope with pain. . . . . somewhere this pastor is serving even the one who has the most menial job in the Church and is doing it with love and patience.

'Leadership'? What ever it is, is more about inspiration than 'lording it over' others. Maybe a leader is someone who has the greater capacity to help others and to do it with grace and compassion? Sounds about right to me.

Ken F said...

"The position of leadership includes 'authority'."

Hi RB,

An aspect that can make this conversation difficult is there are different types of authority (see for examples). So when one makes a claim to authority it helps to specify what kind of authority rather than a general abstraction of authority. The type of authority Jesus modeled was not organizational/hierarchical authority. So when a human decides to exercise that type of authority they are not following the model of Jesus.

Christiane said...

something to think about:

I think it is interesting to remember that the Holy Spirit was sent among us as a 'Paraclete' to help us and minister to us;
but it is also interesting to realize that the Holy Spirit points us not to Himself but only to Christ.

So, perhaps that might be a 'model' for ministry . . . . that humility . . .

Even then, for those who minister to others in imitation of Christ, they need to take to heart that the only time Our Lord was Himself raised up above others, it was on a cross.

'Leadership' in Christianity is a paradox. To be a 'leader', you become a servant. If you would lead 'leaders', then you become a Servant of the Servants of God.

so much for 'popular' or 'famous' or 'celebrity' pastors . . .

it is NOT a coincidence that the model for raising tremendous amounts of money for the missions is a little woman who gave her food away to her beloved Chinese during a famine, and died of the effects of starvation weighing about sixty pounds.

RB Kuter said...

Ken, I think you nailed the source of our continued debate when you wrote: "An aspect that can make this conversation difficult is there are different types of authority.".

Webster's Dictionary struggles with defining "authority" too so it should be no surprise when we come up with different perceptions of what is meant when we use the term.
A few of Webster's definitions:
- power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior/the president's authority
- freedom granted by one in authority: RIGHT/Who gave you the authority to do as you wish?
- persons in command specifically: GOVERNMENT/the local authorities of each state
- convincing force/lent authority to the performance

It appears to me that Victorious sees "authority" as being oppressive, dictatorial, prideful, lording over those subservient, and basically applying the power of their position in an un-Godly manner. I certainly recognize the too frequent un-Godly application of "authority" as it is misused in families, government and unfortunately, in the church.

But I also see the Biblical model portraying "authority" as being used in a "Godly" manner of "serving in a designated leadership position for the genuinely selfless intent of benefiting those being led; using the "influence, convincing force" for the well-being and elevated status of those being led who are under the authority of that person whose spirit is motivated by service to others due to their sense of service to their Lord.

To demonize those in assigned positions of authority, or to seek to disqualify them from having authority, like husbands, is similar to demonizing people who are rich, or born-again Christians, or music worship leaders, simply because they are functioning in positions which usurps influence and distinctive guidance for those following to be within certain parameters of behavior.

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

RB Kuter,

It appears to me that Victorious sees "authority" as being oppressive, dictatorial, prideful, lording over those subservient, and basically applying the power of their position in an un-Godly manner

Well, I don't think I presented this portrait of authority, but it's a perfect example of assuming something and arriving at a conclusion that supports a desired agenda. To the contrary, I have provided scripture in a comment to you on Mon. June 17 at 8:50 p.m. and to Robert Masters on Monday, June 17 at 3:12 p.m.

I think I provided Jesus' own words (Luke 22:25-26) to his disciples that contradicts the practice of some having authority over others and calling themselves, "doers of good."

I also provided a link to a list of 59 verses of scripture that are evidence of the mutual, reciprocal, and scriptural behavior of all believers to one another as opposed to some having authority over others.

If more evidence and clarification is needed, you might consider:

* Paul Burleson's post entitled, "Who Rules the Church?"

* Wade's book entitled "Fraudulent Authority"

* Or Jeff Van Vonderen and David Johnson's book "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse"
which exposes false authority within the church

And I also provided scriptural support/evidence for mutual submission in marriage by referencing Eph. 5:21 and all of 1 Cor. 7.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it....:) Unless that is, you can provide scriptural evidence for a husbands authority (gentle, loving, supportive or otherwise) over his wife.

Rex Ray said...


You said, “In fact, in the BF&M 2K, Our Lord was REMOVED as the 'lens' through which scripture was to be understood.”

I was shocked you said that. I mean how does a ‘Catholic’ understand what the BF&M 2000 did to ‘Baptist beliefs’ when most Baptists don’t? If they did understand, they would change it.

On April 15, 2002, the Baptist Standard printed a letter I wrote to the editor, Marv Knox.


“Difference between fish and birds; fish worry if there’s a hook in the worm.
People, like hooked fish, may be controlled. Most Baptists believe in being controlled only by the Holy Spirit interpreting the Bible. It’s called “priesthood of the believer” and is in the BFM 1963 as, “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.” [Bible is to be interpreted through the eyes of Jesus.]

That statement was removed in the BF&M 2000, and leaders of the SBC are Christian Judaizers using a committee for interpreting Scripture to be obeyed.

Jesus didn’t mention committees interpreting anything. If we let missionaries be fired, who will stand for us when it’s our turn to sight the new BF&M?

Legalistic rulers will continue increasing their authority as long as good men do nothing. Rex Ray-- Bonham

Christiane said...

Hello out there REX RAY in Bonham TX,

How are you doing these days? Better, I hope. Is that medicine working for you?

I really do think that the BF&M 63 was the better statement, sure, because it was Christo-centric and what could be more important?

I think, considering what Patterson had planned, his henchmen were instructed to surgically de-throne Our Lord and kick Him to the curb so as to be able to 'interpret' the Bible through their own eyes . . . what followed were the Patterson misogyny antics, the CBMW founding, the horrendous Eternal Subordination of the Son heresy . . . serious monkey-business that could only be enacted if Our Lord were not 'central' to how the sacred Scriptures were to be read.

Seemed obvious to me that the whole 'change' was arranged so that Patterson could get his way, but then he went too far, and he did it openly. Strange, that. No shame in him. But it was too much thank God, and he was put out, rather firmly. Does he still have 'influence'? I guess among those who need 'authority, power, and control' rather than Christ. But they too will someday go 'too far' . . . a kind of in-born justice because the practice of evil tends to numb people to their own stench.

Being Catholic? I am very Christo-centric in my faith. So, as an outsider, that BF&M change was quite shocking, yes.

RB Kuter said...

Victorious, I imagine that this is another one of those many, many times when we commenters on Wade's blog posts actually are in agreement and the same position but we do indeed misinterpret the intent of someone else's written comments leading us to think we're somehow in disagreement. I apologize if I did misrepresent anything you wrote. I do believe that even though we are basically on the same page, we may have a slightly different perspective, or leaning, as I probably do with Wade, on issues like the role of women in ministry, perhaps, the role of husbands and wives in marriage, though not certain, about that.

So, of course, I could read all the references you provide, like Wade and Paul Burleson's views in writing, but I pretty much know where they stand and would not likely glean anything new from the additional time invested there. All of us typically articulate our positions repeatedly so I don't believe we will change one another's mind, but I do continue to gather valuable insights and try to be objective when some new angle is proposed.

But you know what? One of the most valuable things I acquire from dialoguing with you, Wade, and others who have a slightly different perspective than mine is that it motivates me to consider just why I do hold to my position and it leads me to re-examine the validity of my position. More often than not, like in the instance of women pastors, the husband's role in marriage, etc., I find more to affirm my position through the process of re-examination than causing me to alter it. Hope that's not because I'm hard-headed!

Ken F said...

"To demonize those in assigned positions of authority, or to seek to disqualify them from having authority,..."

Hi RB,
Another factor that complicates dialogue like this is want I call "extreme think" or non-differentiated thinking. It is assuming issues are mostly binary, with little room in the middle. I did not see Victorious "demonizing" authority in general. Rather, I understood her to mean that certain types of authority are not the right model for male/female relations, with which I very much agree. It seems like you might have read too much into what Victorious wrote.

In a hierarchical organization like the military, one's rank places one in certain levels of authority. But no good leader relies on rank alone to get the job done. The best leaders lead in spite of their rank, not because if it. I don't see Jesus exercising organizational authority or saying "do this because I outrank you." His model of leadership is humble service. I think we can all agree that more of this type of leadership is needed in the church. With respect a husband's authority, I heard a pastor say that a husband's headship means first to the cross - meaning the first to give up his life.

Victorious said...

Ken F,

Thank you for seeing the lack of demonizing in my comments regarding authority. I do see Paul submitting to authorities within the realm of the governing magistrates of the time. In Romans 13, he reminds us that the governing authorities are "ministers for good" and we are to obey the laws of the land. He references paying taxes and in Acts 25:11 Paul was willing to submit to Roman justice if found guilty. Mary and Joseph obeyed the decree by Augustus Caesar for a census. And 1 Peter 2 reminds us that governing authorities are instrumental in the punishment of evildoers.

You mentioned the military as a hierarchical organization with levels of authority. Of course, obedience is required as is adherence to rules and regulations in a place of employment and/or the venues of our civil and federal court systems.

I hope that clarifies the place authority has in both scripture and our government today.

My opposition, however, is to teachings that erroneously incorporate a hierarchical system with levels of authority within a body of Christ and within the marital union. I trust I've provided sufficient scriptural evidence that contradicts that practice. And of those who have gone so far as to "trifle with the Trinity" in order to justify their agenda.

Ken F said...

Hi Victorious,
Your explanation was outstanding. I still think this is like one of those optical illusions where one cannot see it both ways until one sees it both ways and then cannot unsee it.

RB Kuter said...

Ken and Victorious; I agree with you both and apologize for my poor choice of expression. Thanks for holding me accountable to that necessity for avoiding "reading between the lines" so much.

Rex Ray said...

What does “Sacred Text” mean? I think it’s everything in the Bible that’s true. Anything in the Bible that’s NOT TRUE is NOT Sacred.

Inerrantists say every word in the Bible is true. HUH?

Bible writers did not go into a trance as if God held their hands to control their writing. They used their brain that was based on their knowledge, experiences, and feelings.

Using Moses as an example; wasn’t he God’s leader for 40 years guiding the people to the Promise Land? Yet God told him he wouldn’t be allowed to enter. In fact, God told him and his brother would die becsuse the rock was hit instead of being spoken to as He had commanded.

Moses wrote from his feelings in saying three times: “The Lord was angry with me BECAUSE of you, and would not me cross over…” (Deuteronomy 1:37, 3:26, 4:21 Living)

But God told him three times why he couldn’t go:

1. “Because you did not believe me and did not sanctify me in the eyes of the people of Israel, you shall not bring them into the land I have promised them.” (Numbers 20:12 Living)

2.“The time has come for Aaron to die, for he shall not enter the land I have given the people of Israel, for the two of you rebelled against my instruction concerning the water at Meribah.” (Numbers 20:24 Living)

3.“After you have seen it, you shall die as Aaron your brother did, for you rebelled against my instructions in the wilderness of Zin. When the people of Israel rebelled, you did not glorify me before them by following my instructions to order water to come out of the rock…” (Numbers 27:13-14 Living)

Much has been written why the words of Paul are without ‘error’, but not any that I know have been written why the words of Peter are without error when he wrote:

1.“…Only eight people were saved from drowning in the terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:20-21 NLT)

1.“… eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 3:21 KJ)

2.“Peter replied, Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NLT)

2.“Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38 KJ)

3. “The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7 NLT)

3. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Peter 4:7 KJ)

Christiane said...

Hello out there, REX RAY

'sacred' text?

I'm not sure what it means in evangelical circles, no.

I think the Bible is called 'Holy' because it is considered 'the Word of the Lord' and because the only One who can fully and accurately interpret its meaning is Jesus Christ Himself, Who is spoken of as 'the Lamb Who was slain' in the Book of Revelation

anything in the Church that is called 'holy' or 'sacred' is because of its connection to Christ . . . when we have readings of the Holy Gospels in our services, we stand up and then the reader will end with 'this is the Word of the Lord' and we reply 'Amen'

I suspect if evangelical people are calling the Bible 'sacred' that is because of Christ

Rex Ray said...


You said, “sacred text? I’m not sure what that means in evangelical circles.

The definition of “Inerrancy” by Google:

“The word inerrancy is formed from the word inerrant, from the Latin inerrāntem, (being in- + errāntem the present participle of errāre to err or wander). It is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "That does not err; free from error; unerring." Another word often used to characterize the Bible is "infallibl."

People that believe the above call themselves “Inerrantists”.

BTW, I am not one. Years ago, Fundamentalists used the word in high jacking the SBC. The belief was much like being accepted in Germany at one time if you said, “Heil Hitler”.

Christiane said...


I like the words 'sacred' or 'holy' best to describe the Scriptures. Why? Because they are 'the Word of God' and therefore holy to Him,

not that men haven't messed up translations by mistake or purposefully to further their agendas, but that 'something' remains in the Scriptures that is able to lead people to God if they are open to the Holy Spirit's guidance,
and that 'something' is a powerful way in which God inter-acts with those who seek Him.

Words like 'infallible' and 'inerrant' can be used to describe other things, but the Scriptures? I'll take 'Holy' and 'Sacred'. I am not a bible-worshiper, no. I'm Catholic. But for goodness sake, it seems that the whole 'inerrant' thing was drummed up by people who had agendas that pushed ahead their own power. As for 'infallible', the Bible may be filled with 'errors' of translation or interpretation, but what it is that leads people who read it to God, that is a 'sacred' thing. In our Western culture, we swear oaths on the sacred Scriptures, upon honor and conscience.
In my Church, we call the Holy Bible a 'sacramental'. That is way more meaningful to me than the word 'inerrant', sure.

Ken F said...

Hi Christian,
I like your comments. You might enjoy this article by Brad Jersak on this topic: Brad is Eastern Orthodox, but he does not speak for all Orthodox.

Rex Ray said...


Besides Ken F, I also like your comments about the Bible. I also believe it has true stories that not many know about like the one below.

Oldest Cold Case in the World: Who Killed Paul?

1. “Lord said…Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings…I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16 NLT)
(Did God use a stressful situation to cause ‘righteous men’ to plan Paul’s death?)

2. “…when some friends of James came. Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.”
(Galatians 2:12 NLT)

3. “When Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. “You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!” they said.” (Acts 11:2-3 NLT)

4. Paul condemned teachers preaching the Law to be saved: “Let God’s curse fall on anyone…even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.” (Galatians 1:8 NLT)

5. “…they think that obeying the Ten Commandments is the way to be saved.”
(2 Corinthians 3:15 Living)

Rex Ray said...

6. “…some so-called Christians there; false ones really…They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations.” (Galatians 2:4 NLT)

7. “…those false teachers of yours who…bring long letters of recommendation … [from Jerusalem Church?] We do not tell them that they must obey every law of God or die…”
(2 Corinthians 3:1, 6 Living)

8. “I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave…even some men from your own group…will distort the truth…” (Acts 20:29-30 NLT)

9. “You are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law…” (Galatians 4:29 NLT)

10. “…If I were still preaching [before he believed in Jesus] that you must be circumcised as some say I do; why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one [Christians] would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.” (Galatians 5:11-12 NLT)

Rex Ray said...

Paul is warned Jewish leaders will turn him over to Gentiles.
“He took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it…The Holy Spirit declares, so shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.” (Acts 21:11)

James and elders told Paul the danger he was in.
“The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders (around 70) of the Jerusalem church were present…Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, you know dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the Law of Moses very seriously. But the Jewish leaders here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. What should WE DO? They will certainly hear that you have come.” (Acts 21:18-22 NLT) When Moses was alive, if breaking his Law meant death, wouldn’t Paul preaching AGAINST the Law be worse?

I believe their praising God about Paul’s report and calling him “dear brother” gave Paul a false security that they were on his side. This one day gave them time to show the danger he is in and the solution about in the same breath. It would also solve their problem: If the Jerusalem Church killed Paul, the Gentile Christians would revolt because Paul was their hero. Their solution would satisfy both the Jewish and Gentile Christians.

Rex Ray said...

“Here is what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.” (Acts 21:24)

WHAT? THEY SENT PAUL TO THE TEMPLE WHERE THE JEWISH LEADERS WERE. Did they not know that Paul had? “…been whipped times without number…Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned…” (2 Corinthians 11:23-25 NLT) Did they know the Holy Spirit said Jewish leaders would turn Paul over to the Gentiles? The vow took seven days.

No one including men from Asia (Acts 21:27) recognized Paul with his head shaved. How did these men from Asia identify him the last day unless someone told them? ‘Tell someone that won’t recognize you so it can’t be traced back to us.’

“…Paul was dragged out of the Temple…As they were killing him…all Jerusalem was in an uproar.” (Acts 21:30-31) Before soldiers rescued him, how many thousands of James’ church were in the crowd that shouted? “Away with such a fellow! He isn’t fit to live!” (Acts 22:22)

“…Ananias, high priest…and lawyer, Tertullus, presented their case against Paul to the governor…he was trying to desecrate the Temple when we arrested him.” (Acts 24:1-7)

According “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” and other writings, James was the most important Jew in Israel. King Agrippa fired the Priest who ordered him to be stoned.
If James had defended Paul, he would be free, but why was he absent?

I’m sure Paul wondered also but after his ’brothers’ had not visited him for years, he knew. “At my first answer no man stood with me…I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16)

I believe Paul repeated the prayer that Stephen prayed because the same crime had been done. “…The time of my death is near.” (2 Timothy 4:6) Paul died in a Roman prison, but the guilt of his death was on those who put him there.